My apologies, Julia.

Oh my. Poor Julia Child would have turned over in her grave had she witnessed me hacking apart the butternut squash I just massacred. There must be an easier way to....chop it? I don't know if it was not ripe or what? If someone could PLEASE enlighten me as to how to do this so I don't nearly lose a finger next time, I would really appreciate it.

  • Posted by: skittle
  • September 15, 2011
  • 1475 views
  • 7 Comments

7 Comments

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hardlikearmour
hardlikearmour September 15, 2011

I usually rest the squash on it's side and slice the bottom end and stem end off. Then I peel it with a veggie peeler (works for butternut, but not all winter squash), stand it up on it's bottom end (which is now flat and pretty stable), and cut it in half vertically. Scoop out the seeds, then cut as desired keeping a flat side on the cutting board. I'm curious to hear what others do.

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beyondcelery
beyondcelery September 15, 2011

1) Cut the butternut squash in half where the chimney of it ends and the bulb begins
2) Cut off the stem end of the chimney and set it upright on your cutting board. With a sharp large knife, carefully slice down the length of the chimney towards the cutting board, skinning the squash. Turn as you go, all the way around.
3) Once the skin is off the chimney, cut it in large slabs lengthwise, about 3-4 depending on the width of the squash. Slice each of these into long 1" or so strips. Chop across the other way to form cubes or small rectangles.
4) Cut the bulb in half and scoop out both reserves of seeds.
5) Chop off the stem end and hold it upright on the cutting board much the same way you did the chimney. This takes more practice as the bulb is a strange shape.
6) Slice into long strips and chop across the other way as you did the chimney.

Also: wear plastic gloves as you do this to prevent the sticky weeping of the squash to bead up on your hands. OR, just get all sticky as you go and then rub olive oil on your hands, wash them really well with soap and hot water, and rub a bit more olive oil on. That usually gets off a large bit of the stickiness.

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skittle
skittle September 15, 2011

I began by trying to cut the squash in half to make it more manageable...but I could barely get the knife through it! I had to use such force to make it go through.

I truly don't know if it was ripe enough. How can you tell if it's ripe?

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beyondcelery
beyondcelery September 15, 2011

Look around the stem end. If it has a lot of green streaks there, it's not ripe. The deeper the tan/orange color all over the squash, the riper it is. You don't want to see much or any green at all. Also look for weeping beads of sap-like liquid near the stem. The more of that you see, the riper it is (usually).

As for cutting it in half, use your sharpest large chef's knife, start it one-handed, keep it on a steady surface, and apply pressure with both hands flat on top of the blade. Sometimes a little rocking will make it go through. But if you're having really serious trouble, it isn't ripe. Seems a little early in the season for butternuts to me anyway, but our growing season here in Washington has been delayed by about 4-6 weeks this year.

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beyondcelery
beyondcelery September 15, 2011

Also: machetes work well. Just sayin'.

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skittle
skittle September 15, 2011

Syronai-I'm thinking a machete would have been more appropriate! It definitely had some green in it. I'm grateful for the information though and I know for next time. Thankfully, the slow cooker made it taste ripe!

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff September 15, 2011

One option for some dishes is to cut in half, scoop out the seeds, roast, and scoop out the squash to use in whatever you're making. If you're peeling and cutting before cooking, a slightly serrated peeler works well.

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